Trump doomed to fail by waging trade war against China for mid-term poll gains

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/5 20:01:55

The ongoing trade friction between China and the US is unlikely to stunt China's drive to open up its domestic market to foreign companies. But some US firms will miss the chance to benefit from the new business opportunities in China if US President Donald Trump continues to drag the US into a trade war with China.

China's policy on further opening-up is expected to be one of the highlights of Chinese President Xi Jinping's scheduled keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia which will be held between Sunday and Wednesday in a town in South China's Hainan Province. 

This year's forum will be the first major multilateral diplomatic event to be attended by Xi after China's "two sessions" - the annual meetings of the national legislature and the top political advisory body - and may thus give a hint of the road map to deepen the country's reforms and opening-up.

Although China has unveiled plans under which new tariffs would cover shipments from the US in response to the recently announced tariffs on $60 billion worth of Chinese goods, the trade disputes between China and the US is unlikely to disrupt the process of China's opening-up. The US is the world's largest economy, but its trade with China accounts for only 14. 2 percent of China's total trade in merchandise. Bilateral trade friction between China and the US is unlikely to change the ultimate goal of China's opening-up policy. In our evolving multi-polar world, Washington's economic influence on Beijing is much smaller than what many people have imagined.

China will remain unwavering in opening up to the rest of the world, but not all foreign companies can be the beneficiaries of China's new round of high-level opening-up measures. We believe companies or US voters who serve as staunch supporters of US President Donald Trump will not only fail to share the dividend of China's reform and opening-up, but also become the first target group as China stages counterattacks against US trade tariffs.

The ulterior purpose of Trump's recently adopted protectionist measures is to win more support in the mid-term elections in November 2018. With its counterattack measures, China must get to Trump's support base and target its voters to make him lose votes if there is a trade war between the two countries. At the very least, China cannot become a victim of Trump's efforts to help his party present a good performance in the mid-term elections.

China is now heading into a new phase of international cooperation and opening-up. However, the US mid-term elections have prompted Trump to pursue protectionist policies. By perceiving China as a competitor and waging a trade war against it, Trump is trying to win brownie points in the US ahead of the mid-term elections. US presidents are used to focusing their attention on their political agenda while ignoring China and the rest of the world. However, China's rise is forcing the US to change.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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